MANAGER Shane Keegan saw his Cobh Ramblers side spoil the party atmosphere in Mounthawk Park on Friday night when they plundered maximum points with a 2-0 win over the newest side in the First Division, Kerry FC.
But it was no cakewalk for Ramblers as Shane admitted post-match.
“I think the game was every bit the battle it was going to be. Obviously, the atmosphere in the place was absolutely electric and we knew that in itself was going to be a challenge. Kerry FC were very good at what they were doing.
“They had a particular style of play and they did it very well. Every set piece they had Graham O’Reilly sent in some great ball, every delivery was top-notch. So it was about as tough as you will get it.
“I am so happy to come away from Tralee with three points."
Keegan admitted that the opening goal for his side came at a crucial time just minutes before halftime.
“It was a crucial time to get a goal and in truth, it came from a little bit of magic from Jack Doherty to pull off the manoeuvre that he did to buy himself that bit of space.
“In fairness, Jack has a bit of something different in him, so he has, and Tiernan O’Brien has been scoring goals all preseason. He is a young lad just out of the U19s and he continued in that vein. It was a really good off-the-ball run and it was a really well-taken goal, I just thought, in the final third of the field from open play.
“I thought we showed a little bit more of a threat probably than Kerry did. But that was it. Kerry showed more of a threat than us in set pieces so there was very little in it either way.”
Keegan agreed that possibly the fact that Cobh Ramblers had a decent preseason while Billy Dennehy was only putting his Kerry squad together so had no competitive game before last Friday night was another plus for them.
“Look, there are probably pros and cons to that. From our own point of view we had a very satisfying preseason in that a 1-0 defeat to Shamrock Rovers up in Roadstone was the only game we lost pre-season so we were really happy with how that went.
“In terms of the Kerry side of things, it was a nightmare week for me because I pride myself in knowing everything about the opposition inside out and have the video prep done, and be able to tell the boys everything they needed to know, but I was shooting blind, to be honest with you, coming in.
“I knew a small bit here and there about fellas like Sean McGrath and Matt Keane but by and large I had nowhere near the prep on Kerry that I would feel comfortable with.
It has to have hampered Kerry if that is the first 90 minutes they played together which is all the more impressive that they were as good as they were.
“I think there is absolutely no doubt that Kerry are going to take points off other sides particularly at home games down here this year.”
Shane Keegan, who is in his first full season with Ramblers, was honest enough to admit that his side might have got away with not conceding a penalty in the second half when the score was 1-0.
“Let’s be honest, we are delighted with the result and it was a really battling performance but there was very little in it between the two sides.
“Michael McCarthy clears the ball off the line in unbelievable style to stop them scoring and if I am completely honest I thought there was a very strong hint of a handball inside the box by Cian Browne.
“I think we got away with one there and if it had been a draw tonight it would have been equally a fair result. But the fact that we have managed to win and we really didn’t play well so that is pleasing from our point of view going forward.”